Tag Archives: payment plan

Can I Discharge Attorney Fees in Bankruptcy?

Debts owed to attorneys for services rendered prior to a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is usually just as dischargeable as any other unsecured debt.

However, there are situations in which this is not so cut-and-dry.

Click here to read more about whether you can discharge attorney fees in bankruptcy on the new Michigan Bankruptcy Blog of Michigan bankruptcy attorneys The Hilla Law Firm, PLLC.

If you are a southeast Michigan resident considering filing for bankruptcy, please feel free to contact me at (866) 674-2317 to schedule a free initial consultation.

How Can a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Help Me Pay Down my Student Loans?

Student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy without a court order from the Bankruptcy Court declaring them discharged. But that does not mean that the bankruptcy process offers no solution to dealing with unmanageable student loan collections. Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be able to help you deal with such loan debt.

To read more about Chapter 13 bankruptcy and student loan debt, click here to read our full article on this topic on the new Michigan Bankruptcy Blog of The Hilla Law Firm, PLLC.

If you are a southeast Michigan resident and are considering filing for bankruptcy, please contact me at (866) 674-2317 or john@hillalaw.com to schedule a free, initial consultation.

Can I Keep My Jewelry if I File for Bankruptcy?

Whether or not you are able to retain jewelry or other personal property in bankruptcy depends greatly upon the value of the property and whether you are filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

To read more about jewelry and the retention of property in bankruptcy, click here to read our full article on this subject on the new Michigan bankruptcy blog of The Hilla Law Firm, PLLC.

If you are a southeast Michigan resident and are considering filing for bankruptcy, please contact us at (866) 674-2317 or john@hillalaw.com to schedule a free, initial consultation.

Is Debt Consolidation a Good Alternative to Bankruptcy?

Many consumers question whether “debt elimination,” which would occur under, for example, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, is a better or worse option with regard to their future credit-scores than “debt consolidation,” a non-bankruptcy-related procedure. The answer is that it depends.

What it depends upon is, first, your current credit standing. A bankruptcy will always be detrimental to your credit-score and will remain on your credit-report for 10 years. However, there comes a point for consumers who have suffered financial set-backs where the impact of a bankruptcy upon their credit-score is not as harmful as lingering in a state of financial decline. This occurs when they have already missed multiple payments, are in arrears on home or auto payments, or possibly have been foreclosed upon or had a vehicle repossessed. At this point, the bankruptcy filing is actually, effectively, an improvement. That is, when you file for bankruptcy and your debt is discharged, you are at least in a state of rebuilding your financial well-being and credit-score rather than treading water in a state of steady decline and suffering incessant collection attempts and late-fee charge application.

Even more to the point, whether debt consolidation is a good option, depends greatly upon the means by which you are consolidating your debt. For the most part, however, debt consolidation is not a good deal for the consumer in need.

There are legitimate credit counseling agencies who provide the pre-bankruptcy petition credit counseling that is required by bankruptcy law. These agencies sometimes recommend a debt management plan, which, for some debtors, may provide a non-bankruptcy solution to their debt management problems. Often, however, such plans are not a good idea as they usually do not reduce the principal owed by the debtor and don’t help with secured debt, such as home mortgages or auto loans.

Worse, there the other “debt consolidators” that debtors considering bankruptcy tend to run into. These are for-profit companies that claim to be able to negotiate with a debtor’s creditors. These companies do not have any legal means of convincing a credit card issuer or other creditor to reduce a debtor’s debt, and, often, they simply take the debtor’s money in the form of a monthly “lump” payment and hold onto it. Very few debtors end up completing the “consolidation” programs offered by these companies, and, in my experience, they often end up being just another creditor listed in the bankruptcy petition when the debtor ends up filing for bankruptcy anyway.

In short, be very careful of which company is offering you a “debt consolidation” plan. For the most part, it is not a good deal and may even be harmful to many consumers, regardless of whether they go on to consider filing for bankruptcy as an option.

If you are a southeast Michigan resident and are considering filing for bankruptcy, please contact me at (866) 674-2317 or john@hillalaw.com to schedule a free, initial consultation.

New Year, New Solutions?

The passing of a year is always an optimistic time for most of us. It’s a little arbitrary, probably, to stand on the threshold of a new year and expect that much will change when, usually, January 1st is never all that much different from the day before it, but we all have that expectation regardless. We formulate New Year resolutions or decide steadfastly that we don’t require them, and we step forward into another year with the notion of change set firmly in mind. “This year,” we tell ourselves, “it’s all going to come together for me.”

That’s as true for me as it is for anyone else. I have great hopes and expectations for 2009 that may or may not be borne out as events unfold. Like everyone else, I have no guarantees that anything will work out particularly well for me, but, like absolutely everyone else, I move forward with my fingers crossed, doing what needs to be done. It’s simply human nature to retain at least enough optimism to keep going forward regardless of whatever it is that may be weighing us down. The New Year holiday represents that optimistic side of our nature as human beings, and it is that side of our nature that does bring us our greatest successes, even when the odds are against us.

It does happen that the odds are against many of us at this particular time in our history. Particularly here in Detroit and the greater southeast Michigan area, many are having a tough time right now. Regardless, just as our political leaders must adapt to new circumstances and develop new strategies for our state and our nation’s economic well-being, we must, individually, do the same. Nobody needs to be told to tighten their belt when the going gets rough, but the details of how to do it are sometimes easier said than done. And, when it comes to dealing with overwhelming amounts of debt in the face of job-loss, medical issues, or other serious matters, there’s nothing easy about it.

In particular, if your belt has been tightened and tightened again and you are considering filing for bankruptcy in the coming year, there are a few basic precautions you can take to improve the odds for yourself—and for your coming year.

Stop Using Credit-Cards

This is one of those “easier said than done” things, especially if your situation has become so strained that you are, to some extent, living off of your credit-card right now. But credit-card debt is expensive in the long-term. It isn’t always to focus on the long-term when the short-term has become difficult, but interest-rate changes, the inflated rates on cash-advances on a credit card, and the ability of the card issuers to alter the terms of your agreement with them at virtually any time throughout the length of your relationship means that, unless you’re careful, you could make a short-term difficulty into a very long-term one.

Further, if you are considering bankruptcy anytime in the coming year, you don’t want to give your creditors any justifiable reason to claim that your bankruptcy petition is fraudulent and should be dismissed. Use of a credit-card when you know you will be filing for bankruptcy is fraud.

Stay Current on Your Car and Mortgage Payments

Again, if you’re in trouble, this may be a very difficult thing to accomplish. It may, in fact, be the primary reason you consider filing for bankruptcy. In general, especially here in Metro Detroit, where the public transportation options are slim to none, it is important to have a reliable vehicle before, during, and after a financial crisis. Losing a car or, especially, a home will obviously worsen the odds that you will emerge from the crisis. But, if you are planning to file bankruptcy and hope to save a home or vehicle, it is also important to continue demonstrating your ability to make payments on the property so that your Chapter 13 plan will appear effective to the Bankruptcy Trustee who will oversee your case.

Close Unnecessary Bank-Accounts

If you have accounts that you don’t use or rarely use, transfer the funds to other accounts and close them out. It just makes things easier.

Keep Good Records

Complete and accurate records of your financial history will enable a bankruptcy attorney to do the best job for you that he or she can.

These are just a few of several steps you can take to make not only the short-term possibility of a Happy New Year alive but also the long-term possibility. If it is not possible for you to take at least the first two steps I’ve discussed above, it is possible that a bankruptcy may be the best financial course of action for you in the New Year. Even that, however, is still cause for optimism. A bankruptcy is, after all, not an ending but a new beginning, like the New Year holiday itself, and, if your situation requires that drastic step, it should be viewed as an optimistic move forward.

If you are a southeast Michigan resident and are considering filing for bankruptcy, please contact me at (866) 674-2317 or john@hillalaw.com to schedule a free, initial consultation.


How Will My Bankruptcy Filing Affect the Co-Signers on My Loans?

It is inevitable that filing for bankruptcy can have an impact beyond the sphere of our own personal finances. Many people (including myself) have co-signed loans for others, had loans co-signed by others, or both. Frequently, those who have co-signed loans for us are our family or friends. Likewise, those we have co-signed for are frequently personal acquaintances. In either case, the filing of a bankruptcy petition can ripple across this financial support network, and rarely is it likely to endear us to one another.

To read more about Michigan bankruptcy and its effect upon your co-debtors, click here to visit our new blog at The Hilla Law Firm, PLLC.

Can I Discharge Traffic Tickets in Bankruptcy?

Traffic tickets may not be dischargeable in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, even if a debt is not fully dischargeable in bankruptcy, will allow you to repay the tickets at 0% interest over a period of 3-5 years.

Click here to read more about discharging traffic tickets in Michigan bankruptcy on The Hilla Law Firm’s new Michigan bankruptcy blog.

If you are a southeast Michigan resident and are considering filing for bankruptcy, please contact me at (866) 674-2317 or john@hillalaw.com to schedule a free, initial consultation.